Interview – Rough Magic Author, Kenny Soward
Kenny Soward, author of Rough Magic: Book One of the Gnomesaga. Welcome to The Showcase. Pull up a seat and get comfortable.
KS: Thanks, Paul. Glad to be here.
You have recently released your first full length novel that we’ll get to in due course. But care to give us a little insight into how you got into writing and where the love came from?
KS: Like many writers, I’d have to say my love for stories, be it movies or books, inspired me to write stories of my own. Strangely enough, it was my sixth grade school teacher who actually gave me my first ongoing writing assignment, which was to write in a personal journal. Throw in a healthy dose of gaming during high school, and I started to imagine that I could actually write a novel.
The desire has grown from just writing neat stories to publishing stories that blow people away.
You strike us as someone who is now focused on finding your audience. Do you feel that there will come a point where you’d like writing to be your sole profession?
KS: I freely admit that I have no idea who my audience is, although I understand the importance of finding it. In writing ROUGH MAGIC, my sole purpose was to have fun and tell a powerful tale. In order for me to wake up and enjoy writing every day, I have to tell the story I want to tell. It would be nice to make a living writing, but I’m not going to kid myself about my chances. There are a lot of amazing writers struggling to make a buck. I don’t plan on quitting my day job any time soon.
For those not familiar with your first novel. We have, as the main protagonists, Gnomes… this is a first as far as we know it. We’ve tried to approach asking this question from different angles, but unsuccessfully so, so why GNOMES?
KS: I guess the obvious response is, “Why not?” To be honest, I think many publishers would give me a hundred reasons why not; gnomes are silly, un-relatable, uninteresting. Not very sexy.
Well, therein lies the challenge, right? That’s why other authors might think twice about tackling this particular race, but I did not. When I thought about it, gnomes were so unheard of that I felt the race was sort of a blank canvas. I’d played gnomes in MMORPGs, and always thought there was a lot to tell about them; magnificent cities, curious inventions, and their wide array of temperaments.
What has the reaction been like? And is it what you expected?
KS: There are folks who will never give ROUGH MAGIC a try. That’s fine. But those who have read ROUGH MAGIC seem pleasantly surprised at the robust characters I’ve created. I think with subsequent books, interest will rise. The reaction is pretty much what I expected, but I can’t be sure what gnomes have to do with any of it. I’m still very new to self-publishing, so there is a lot left to discover regarding where I fit into all of this.
The Tinkermage, the second book in the Gnomesaga is due out at the end of the summer. What can we expect from Niksabella and Nikselpik? Do we have a release date as yet? Oh and how much would it take for an exclusive cover reveal? 😉
KS: I’m taking the world of Sullenor to the next level, expanding on the various races and how they fit in with our gnomes. Nikselpik is forced to rediscover himself as he recovers from addiction, and Niksabella will be forced to make big decisions about her relationship with Termund as well as how to harness great power.
I’m just now returning to the draft of TINKERMAGE after working on DEAD WEST, so I don’t have a solid release date yet. Still on track for 2013, and yes, the cover is done. In order to get an exclusive cover reveal, I’d need to be plied with several cases of good English beer. 🙂
We’ve also been privy to some news of a co-written series soon to hit the streets with 2 other Showcase authors. Can you tell us a little about how the 3 of you came to write about Wild Western Zombies?
KS: Speak of the devil. Yes, I’m in cahoots with Joe Martin and Tim Marquitz to create a sort of zombie western series titled DEAD WEST. The first book, THOSE POOR, POOR, BASTARDS, should be out this week. Initially, Joe talked to Tim about doing the series and later asked me if I wanted a piece of the action. The three of us started chatting and before long were laying down a story. Over the next couple of months we collaborated on the outline and narrative and BAM, had a working piece. It’s a little insane how quickly the project came together. It is a zombie western, but the source is more supernatural as opposed to a disease or breakout. We feel like we’re bringing forth a lot of elements rarely seen in zombie horror, and we’re hoping this fresh approach makes our series successful.
It wouldn’t be right, being where you are, to not ask the question we ask everyone at this point. Why the self-publishing route?
KS: The more I’m asked this question, the more I realize how my outlook on writing is different than many of my author friends. When writing ROUGH MAGIC, I didn’t spend a single second worrying if a publisher would like the book. I just wanted to have fun and become a better writer. More and more I hear writers talk about the prestige and pride they think they will receive after they get that ‘big deal.’ Certainly, a great deal (something that works in your favor financially) would be wonderful, and I’d never turn down an offer to publish traditionally provided the publisher could actually take my book to the next level. But I question the sincerity and competence of a majority of publishing houses out there. For every great success story, there are ten sorry ones where a publisher didn’t come through and the artist got ripped off and left behind.
My goal is simple. Write (get better), publish, promote, and see what happens.
We always aim to give everyone their own little shout-out spot. So, we have someone who loves your work, anyone else you would recommend to them? Who are you currently reading?
KS: I’m currently reading HEIR TO THE BLOOD THRONE by Tim Marquitz, and I hope to get into the latest Neil Gaimen book, OCEAN AT THE END OF A THE LANE in the next day or two. I tend to read stuff that’s ‘out there,’ where the author is bold enough to go places most writers wouldn’t. My favorite contemporary authors are Caitlin R. Kiernan and China Mieville.
Finally, we’d just like to Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today and for joining us on our journey. The cases of beer are on their way…
KS: Thanks! It was fun.